Friday, December 25, 2015

Happy Cypher-mas!

Just a short post to wish everybody a good holiday season. Hopefully you all got a Cypher or two or maybe an artifact.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Nuts & Bolts #59 - Atom Bomb Baby! Fallout 4 Cypher Edition (part 3)

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Hopefully the past two weeks have been an enjoyable excursion into Fallout. This will be my last post on the topic, not because I couldn't do more, but because Cypher System doesn't need endless posts that detail every tiny variation on theme. This'll cover the most common robots of the Commonwealth Wasteland, and wrap up a couple of other minor topics.

Self Destruct Mode

All of the robots below have a self destruct mode that causes their internal nuclear engines to go supercritical and explode if the robot is otherwise disabled. This is usually the result of having its limbs/arms destroyed. Self destruct takes 3 rounds to hit critical mass during which the robot will pursue its enemies before finally detonating in a 10 damage explosion to everything within immediate range. During the 3 round charge up time the robot will cause 2 radiation damage per round to all within immediate range.

Robot Motivation

All of the robots detailed here follow their programming. Exceptional robots do exist that have the capacity for free thought (see also Synths in part 1) but the norm are those that are simply following whatever instruction they were last given.

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Mr. Handy/Mr. Gutsy

The Mister series of robots are floating eye style bots. With a round central body, three eye stalks, and three appendages fitted with a flamer, saw, and either a SMG (for Mr. Gutsy models), or a pincer (on Mr. Handy models). The Mr. Handy series was a common "butler bot" before the war, and even after it many have been put into service in the wasteland, or continue to follow prior commands. Mr. Gutsy was the military model and programmed with a sense of bravado that could fit well in a Sentrybot.

Level 3 (TN 9)
  • 1 Armor, 12 health, Short Movement
  • Can attack close with a saw for 4 damage, with a flamer for 4 damage in a cone extending to immediate range (Speed defense save for half damage), and Mr. Gutsy can attack with an in-built SMG to medium range for 6 damage. 
  • Self Destruct Mode: As described above, this will engage if all three arms are disabled.
  • Loot: mostly crafting components, though a Mr. Gutsy may yield some ammunition
  • Use: The Mister series will fulfill programming for as long as they are operational. They can be found guarding homes and military installations or convoys, or re-purposed to protect raider bases or wasteland settlements.


The SentryBot is unarguably the most dangerous robotic remnant of the pre-war world. These massive robots are heavily armed and armored, with powerful dual fusion cores to run whatever weapons they need. Equipped with a variety of armaments these dangerous robots are nearly always found guarding pristine military weapon caches.

Level 5 (TN 15)
  • Armor 3, Health 20, Short Movement
  • Integrated weapon systems: SentryBots always have two in-built weapon systems, and can attack two targets a turn. Often these are a pair of mini-guns dealing 8 damage each, but variants may include laser or plasma weapons, missile launchers, or flamers. 
  • Self Destruct Mode: As described above, this will engage if both arms are disabled. In addition a SentryBot will ALWAYS explode when destroyed. Stand back please.
  • Loot: Aside from fusion cores needed to power power armor, the wrecks of SentryBots often contain ammunition, and salvageable crafting materials. 
  • Use: SentryBots can be found protecting old world military assets.

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The Protectron series of civil defense bots saw a great deal of variation in the pre-war years. With models purpose-built for police, medical, construction, and fire-fighting use as well as the standard guard models. Protectrons are robust but their clumsy and slow movement make them less of a threat than their peers.

Level 2 (TN 6)

  • Armor 1, Health 12, Immediate Movement
  • Standard models feature a short range laser (damage 3), while police and medical models have stunners built into their hands (melee attacks deal additional 2 points of speed damage that bypasses armor). All other models rely on simple melee attacks (2 damage).
  • Self Destruct Mode: As described above, this will engage if both arms are disabled.
  • Loot: Usually just scrap.
  • Use: Occasionally found wandering, following a prior command, many can be found still in their charging cradles in police stations, firehouses, hospitals, and construction yards.


The close runner up to the SentryBot in terms of threat level and pant-browning ability. The Assaultron was built to be a fast and devastatingly effective front line melee fighter. They are easily the fastest and most nimble of robots and employ savage melee attacks. Most models also feature a powerful laser for medium range attacks on fleeing targets or during a charge.

Level 4 (TN 12)

  • Armor 2, Health 14, Long Movement
  • Close attacks as level 5 dealing 6 damage
  • Head Laser: Medium range, 5 damage, can only be used every 3rd round
  • Self Destruct Mode: As described above, this will engage if both arms are disabled.
  • Loot: Usually just scrap
  • Use: Much like SentryBots, Assaultron often guard military assets. In addition some are found in the wasteland on search and destroy missions; unfortunately they no longer recognize any targets are friendly.

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Small floating orbs that feature a loudspeaker, these robots are used to spread information, or propaganda. Eyebots are armed with a light laser, and feature very little armor.

Level 2 (TN 6)

  • Short Movement
  • Light laser does 3 damage to medium range
  • No self destruct: Eyebots lack an internal nuclear engine and do not have self destruct capability.
  • Loot: Scrap and the occasional fusion charge for laser weapons
  • Use: Encountered throughout the wasteland loudly proclaiming something from their speaker-grille.

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An important part of life in the wasteland is the ability to salvage waste and turn it into something useful. Characters with the right skills can formulate drugs, upgrade weapons, and build settlements. GMs are advised to be careful just what they allow players to build normally. Drugs and explosives should follow the usual rules for building cyphers. Weapon upgrades should be limited to small increases in attack (a +1, +2, or perhaps a full asset), extending range, or changing the weapon class (light to medium to heavy). For players who want to be able to craft a full gamut of objects armor and weapons I suggest that those characters should look at the "Crafts Unique Objects" focus (CSR pg 116).

Sample Drugs

A small selection of additional Cyphers in the form of pre- and post-war drugs

  • Mentats
    • Level 1d6; Provides 2 assets to all science/technology based activities for a number of turns equal to its level
  • Grape Mentats
    • Level 1d6; Provides 2 assets on all interaction activities for a number of rounds equal to its level
  • Jet
    • Level 1d4; Provides an asset on all combat tasks for a number of rounds equal to its level. Imposes a 1 level difficulty on all tasks for the round after it wears off (unless another dose is taken, which will compound the eventual crash)
  • MedX
    • Level 1d6+4; Provides +1 armor for a number of rounds equal to its level

See also:

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Holiday Interlude 2015 #3 - Krampus

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Level: 8 (TN 24)

Health: 48 • Armor: 1

Damage: 8

Movement: Short

Modifications: None

Combat: Krampus attacks with claws dealing 8 damage with a successful attack. He can also grab a naughty opponent and stuff them into his bag. This is a level 8 Speed defense task to avoid the initial grab, or a level 8 Might task to escape from the bag. Occasionally Krampus will also toss lumps of coal up to short range for 6 damage on a successful hit.

Interaction: Krampus is little interested in negotiation, but may be willing to hear the naughty or nice out if there is the chance of gaining some upper hand over Santa.

Use: Krampus wages a strange sort of war with Santa every year. Santa wants all the children of the world to be good and get presents while Krampus wants them all to be naughty so he can take them to feast on. The pair fight for control of the holiday season because if one ever gains the upper hand they will be able to influence the world.

Notes: Krampus is often accompanied by Ginger-Mech Men, or Gingerbread Ninjas, and usually has a minimum of 1d4+1 naughty children in his sack to later feast on.

Loot: Krampus carries coal that he gifts to those not naughty enough to harvest for his feast. Among these lumps are often 1d6 potential cyphers that only need to be uncovered.

GM Intrusion: Krampus summons 1d6 Gingerbread Ninjas or 1d4 Ginger-Mech Men to assist him.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Holiday Interlude 2015 #2 - The Ginger-Mech Man

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There's a surplus of gingerbread themed Christmas artwork so as much as I'd like to do a peppermint golem, or a yule treent, I have to go where the art is.

Name: Ginger-Mech Man

Level: Soft: 3 (TN 9), Stale 5 (TN 15)

Health: 12 (soft) or 15 (stale) • Armor: 0 (soft) or 2 (stale)

Damage: 3 (soft) or 6 (stale)

Movement: Short

Modifications: The Ginger-Mech Man is vulnerable to liquid based attacks and takes double damage. In addition if dealt more than half their health in damage from liquid attacks reduce their level by 1 as they begin to get mushy.

Combat: The Ginger-Mech Man can attack unarmed for its normal damage or fire its Gumdrop Cannon. The Gumdrop Cannon can fire up to long range and deals 4 damage. Targets hit by a gumdrop must make a level 4 might check or become immobilized until they can break free (also a level 4 might check).

Interaction:  Ginger-Mech Men generally follow orders, but they may be willing to accept bribes of white icing.

Use: Ginger-Mech men help to guard Santa's village, but they can also be created by Krampus as part of his Bah-Humbug Brigade.

Notes: Don't insult a Ginger-Mech Man. Just don't.

Loot: Ginger-Mechs contain 1d4-2 sugar based cyphers.

GM Intrusion: A Ginger-Mech attacked by fire in the prior round becomes Stale and increases its combat prowess accordingly.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Last Week Today - Week of December 14-20, 2015

Story Seed - Dereliction

Nuts & Bolts - Atom Bomb Baby! Fallout 4 Cypher Edition (part 2)

Holiday Interlude #1 - Octoclaus the Santapus


Did you watch  +James August Walls+Ryan Chaddock, and I discuss how to use the Cypher System for playing games of Star Wars? If you missed it you can watch it on YouTube! And if you liked it you can look forward to more, we decided to make this a "thing" on a basis that could be called "recurring." Our second episode of "Cypher Live" will be January 3rd at 9 p Eastern, and we'll be discussing the Numenera book Into the Night.